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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
II. THE GREAT AGE OF THE GREEK REPUBLICS TO 362 B.C.
» Contents of this ChapterPage 23
DECLINE OF THE CITY-STATE
WEAKNESS OF CITY-STATES
The battle of Mantinea proved that no single city—Athens, Sparta, or Thebes—was strong enough to rule Greece. By the middle of the fourth century B.C. it had become evident that a great Hellenic power could the not be created out of the little, independent city-states of Greece.
A RECORD OF ALMOST CEASELESS CONFLICT
The history of Continental Hellas for more than a century after the close of the Persian War had been a record of almost ceaseless conflict. We have seen how Greece came to be split up into two great alliances, the one a naval league ruled by Athens, the other a confederacy of Peloponnesian cities under the leadership of Sparta. How the Delian League became the Athenian Empire; how Sparta began a long war with Athens to secure the independence of the subject states and ended it by reducing them to her own supremacy; how the rough-handed sway of Sparta led to the revolt of her allies and dependencies and the sudden rise of Thebes to supremacy; how Thebes herself established an empire on the ruins of Spartan rule-- this is a story of fruitless and exhausting struggles which sounded the knell of Greek liberty and the end of the city-state.
Far away in the north, remote from the noisy conflicts of Greek political life, a new power was slowly rising to imperial greatness—no insignificant city-state, but an extensive territorial state like those of modern times. Three years after the battle of Mantinea Philip II ascended the throne of Macedonia. He established Hellenic unity by bringing the Hellenic people within a widespread empire. Alexander the Great, the son of this king, carried Macedonian dominion and Greek culture to the ends of the known world. To this new period of ancient history we now turn.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy